86.3% of UPS Teamsters overwhelmingly vote to ratify historic contract

PAI Staff Writer

Washington (PAI) – Teamsters voted by an overwhelming 86.3 percent Aug. 22 to ratify the most historic collective bargaining agreement in the history of UPS.

The agreement passed by the highest vote for a contract in the history of the Teamsters at UPS.

All supplemental agreements were ratified as well, except for the Local 769 LAI supplement which covers 174 members in Florida. The national master agreement will go into effect once the supplement is renegotiated and ratified. 

The Teamsters national bargaining committee said it would meet with UPS to work out a revised pact “to resolve any outstanding issues with the supplement” for the Florida local. Then those local members will vote on the revision.

Teamsters President Sean O’Brien called the five-year pact “the most lucrative agreement the Teamsters ever negotiated” with the big freight package firm. “Teamsters set a new standard and raised the bar for pay, benefits, and working conditions in the package delivery industry. This is the template for how workers should be paid and protected nationwide, and non-union companies like Amazon better pay attention.”

“This is the richest national contract I’ve seen in my more than 40 years of representing Teamsters at UPS,” said Secretary-Treasurer Fred Zuckerman.

“There are more gains in this contract than in any other UPS agreement and with no givebacks to the company. But the hard work doesn’t end here. We will continue to fight like hell to enforce this contract and make sure UPS lives up to every word of it over the next five years.”

Contract highlights include large across-the-board raises and elimination of the two-tier wage system by reclassifying second tier workers as full-time regular package car drivers at full first-tier pay.


  • Full-time and part-time UPS Teamsters will see $2.75 more per hour in 2023 and $7.50 per hour over the full contract. The part-timers, who are approximately half the UPS workers, including both drivers and warehouse workers, also get longevity wage increases of up to $1.50 per hour.
  • The part-timers also now start at $16.20 hourly. That immediately rises to at least $21 per hour, followed by $23 next year. “Part-time seniority workers earning more under a market rate adjustment will still receive all new general wage increases,” a Teamsters fact sheet adds.
  • The company also committed to raising 7,500 part-timers to full-time jobs and filling another 22,500 open but contract-covered positions over the next five years. The old pact had a company promise to promote part-timers, too, but it wasn’t fulfilled.
  • The union also won air conditioning in all vehicles UPS buys starting Jan. 1, and fans in current vehicles. Combating excess heat in the vehicles was a key union demand.
  • The contract also commits UPS to more-reasonable scheduling, no forced overtime, and adds Martin Luther King’s birthday as a paid holiday.

O’Brien, Zuckerman and local officers conducted a year-long Teamster mobilization at UPS. It included a contract unity pledge, parking lot rallies, a strike authorization vote of 97 percent, and practice picketing.

The union also garnered key support from other unions. That included the AFL-CIO — though the Teamsters are not in the federation — and the independent union representing UPS’s 3,400 pilots. Their president wrote O’Brien that if UPS forced a strike, the pilots would honor the picket lines, thus completely grounding the company.

“We showed UPS we were ready to strike if we had to. That’s how we ended a generation of givebacks. . . and put our union back on the offense against UPS,” said Eugene Braswell, a Local 804 shop steward.

Braswell said the new contract also “boosted substandard pensions for over 60,000 members, stopped driver-facing cameras, tightened restrictions on subcontracting, increased part-time wages, and more.” 

“Now, UPSers are looking to the future — from contract enforcement to organizing Amazon.”

“The best contract in the world isn’t worth the paper it’s written on if you don’t enforce it,” said Greg Kerwood, a Local 25 shop steward. 

O’Brien indicated the UPS pact would be a marker the union uses as it tackles organizing Amazon, which has double the number of workers as UPS, but carries less than half of the freight volume UPS does.

Amazon’s Executive Chairman Jeff Bezos, the second-richest person in the U.S., according to Forbes, is a virulent union-hater whose warehouses are rife with job safety and health hazards.

Bezos is battling unionization efforts from the Teamsters, the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, and the independent Amazon Labor Union, which won a recognition election at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island. N.Y. The National Labor Relations Board is still digging through contested ballots from workers at Amazon’s big warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., which RWDSU is trying to organize.

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